Earth Times Logo
RSS Feed Google+ Facebook Twitter Linked In Pinterest



Birds

Stilt break records for migration and finding water.

Stilt break records for migration and finding water.

The wonder of bird migration takes a long while to sink in. Perhaps it’s the payload, but tiny birds still seem able to amaze us with their ability to fly thousands of kilometres (or even miles.) This is a unique Australian endemic bird that seems able to detect water a great distances, possibly by smell of desert, air, their brine shrimp food or other olfaction.

Birds and passion, Ecuador rules in biodiversity

Birds and passion, Ecuador rules in biodiversity



The evolutionary relationships between organisms are endless, while some stand out as truly incredible. For 10 million years, mountains have moved and bills have been “paid” as pollination was accomplished by bat, bee and bird

Budgies negotiate gaps

Budgies negotiate gaps

Flight in our birds and bats is an interesting process as well as a part of life that we always seem to want to emulate. Avoiding obstacles within a flock, or negotiating forests is an area we need to study for our own needs, even if we simply use it for in-flight entertainment. The serious use of bird mechanisms for various aircraft such as drones is always likely as robotic systems develop.

Tool use and manufacture, but by birds

Tool use and manufacture, but by birds



The mammals and the birds are in competition. How many species will we find that can understand tool-using concepts, and then socially interact with their uses?

Eggs of elephant birds still reign supreme

Eggs of elephant birds still reign supreme

The sale of the most remarkable egg ever known is about to take place. Your local museum may not be able to attract the visitors it would like for a simple egg, but the imagination runs wild at the ancient world this egg would have hatched into!

Conservation is too conservative in the UK

Conservation is too conservative in the UK

The white-tailed eagle, the dormouse and the large blue butterfly are all threatened. But not by extinction. The threat comes from ill-equipped government who are going to cling to a list of alien plants and animals that is so far out-of-date, Darwin would have laughed. People would then be allowed to exterminate species like this on their land.

Protect penguins from habitat loss

Protect penguins from habitat loss

The Antarctic is, or was, the unspoilt continent. To preserve some of its pristine condition, it should be quite easy to keep the oil, the mining the fishing and, most of all, the greed at arm’s length. For the sake of penguins and healthy, sustainable fish stocks, we have to start this difficult process.

Tallest penguins ever are discovered

Tallest penguins ever are discovered

The giant penguins are on the march. There are now several recognised species, each with a different niche connected with the food-rich Antarctic seas. The newest species benefits from having more fossil remains than most, so we can hope to see more remains in the future, giving us better ideas on how these amazing birds looked, evolved and why they died out, millions of years ago.

The emperor has no ice

The emperor has no ice

It isn't just us who suffer badly from climate change and global warming. Although some species are thriving, many, such as the emperor penguin, are subject, both now and in the near future to multiple threats, leading to their extinction.

Risk it, even if you’re a shy great tit!

Risk it, even if you’re a shy great tit!

Personality in great tits stretches as far as deciding whether to risk your life for your eggs. Would you go back home if somebody seems to threaten your cosy little nest in some unknown way? Insights into survival, evolution of boldness, domesticity and even our own reactions to stress can be found here!

Visual effects created by bower birds

Visual effects created by bower birds

Among the most intricate displays of courtship in any species, the bower birds have intrigued us for centuries. Finally, we may be getting close to a full understanding of how such glorious behaviours work and how they came about!

Spider sociability

Spider sociability

How did social behaviour evolve, and why do we see it in so many animals, no matter what level of taxonomy they are found? Spiders, sticklebacks and insects, birds, mammals and reptiles are all involved in complex social interaction.

Bats' flight changes

Bats' flight changes

When we study insects and birds in the air, or other animals in water, the interest often lies in how they can change their locomotive effort in order to counteract wind or currents. The use of computer modelling can also add the extra benefit of prediction of movement under various conditions.

Camels lynx and eagles invade?

Camels lynx and eagles invade?

When is an alien species really alien? Maybe only when it is a critical danger to another species. A new book from a popular author puts forward persuasive and alarming arguments. Camels, eagles, snakes, spiders and influenza virus, wrapped up in invasive packaging.

Fantastic ancient fauna precedes mammal evolution

Fantastic ancient fauna precedes mammal evolution

Animals of unfamiliar as well as familiar types took up niches in the ancient ecosystems, as birds and mammals developed and, of course, feathered dinosaurs ruled the roost!

Interesting albatross personalities

Interesting albatross personalities

Far away in the Antarctic, life for the albatross is hard. Fishing vessels are sources of food, but the prime fishing is found in productive shallow seas near islands. The personalities of these birds have always been intriguing, and now we have a start on discovering more about their lives.

Flying and genome size: it’s true about the reduction!

Flying and genome size: it’s true about the reduction!



From humming birds to eagles, the birds have diversified their niches worldwide. Their genome however is reduced compared to us earthbound creatures!

Riverside vegetation and favoured birds

Riverside vegetation and favoured birds

Ways to improve our environment vary from cutting everything down to leaving corridors for animals and plants to penetrate. This study recommends really trying to encourage riverside vegetation. It achieves the complexity that we miss so often in anthropogenic landscapes.

Uruguayan fish show how they evolve

Uruguayan fish show how they evolve



Fish diversify into thousands of species, especially cichlids in African lakes. Mammals and birds can show equal diversity sometimes, so it would be intriguing to find more vertebrate classes subjected to investigations such as these, proving some genetic matches for lost and current animals we want to know more about.

Manakins are athletic tropical courters

Manakins are athletic tropical courters

Birds are known for putting a lot of effort into their mating displays. In the tropics however, energy is at a premium, and sexual selection has been known to be more or less illogical in the abnormal effects it has on male display!

To bee or not to bee (again)

To bee or not to bee (again)

When will the bees and other helpful insects be protected in the same way as (some) mammals and birds? It's obvious that the fruit industries will collapse without them, so for the most selfish of reasons, we know we have to try and preserve these species. Unfortunately, there are always those who suffer from short sight, or simply greed for bigger and bigger short-term profits.

IUCN Endangered List Latest

IUCN Endangered List Latest

The wonder of a beautiful sea “monster” is never lost, but while some species like the great leatherback turtle have varying fortunes, many birds and others are in the process of disappearing for ever.

Cuckoos mimic hawks

Cuckoos mimic hawks

We normally regard Batesian mimics as butterflies that pretend to be poisonous, or even snakes. The cuckoo now reveals its subtle disguise as a dangerous predator of small birds, but of course, it's fooling these small birds into letting it lay an egg in their nest.

Changing your tune in hummingbirds

Changing your tune in hummingbirds

This large hummingbird seems able to be a song-writer as well as a songster.With detailed examination of its song with the latest instruments, we can now say those abilities are equivalent to the brainy parrots!

Kiwi Conservation Genetics

Kiwi Conservation Genetics

One of he oddest of the exoic birds from that wonderland called New Zealand, this little spotted kiwi has been conserved for over a century.However, because of the lack of diversity within its genes, it may yet face extincton in he future.

Ancestor of hummingbird and swift

Ancestor of hummingbird and swift

The North American fossils of humming birds are rare compared to other continents. This fossil is early and provides lots of information relevant to swifts and humming birds.

Bills and Island Songsters

Bills and Island Songsters

Bill size has been investigated in these tunesmiths, with findings proving fruitful for evolutionary theorists. The birds themselves have bigger beak differences on more southerly islands!

The Leatherback Strikes Back

The Leatherback Strikes Back

In Puerto Rico, near one of the leatherback turtles nesting areas in the southern Caribbean and northern South America, the conservation battle has raged long and often.

Pesticide is costly for bees, then birds, then?

Pesticide is costly for bees, then birds, then?

The way in which we have allowed concerns about neonicotinoid insecticides to go unnoticed is parallel to the Silent Spring ignorance that reigned supreme for Rachel Carson.

The South Island Robin survives much better now

The South Island Robin survives much better now

The South Island and North Island robins of New Zealand are small birds that evolved from Australian ancestors when they reached the distant islands.

The wolf at the door and the sandpiper that migrates: Animals in their niches

The wolf at the door and the sandpiper that migrates: Animals in their niches



Do lots of packs of wolves exist in an ideal habitat, with fewer wolves away from this centre of a geographical area?

The hummingbird and the nectar collector

The hummingbird and the nectar collector



Kim Wonjung and his colleagues at MIT, in the US, have worked out how the tongue of the hummingbird can achieve a capillary action.

Songbirds and mate choice, showing that beauty is in the (right) eye of the beholder

Songbirds and mate choice, showing that beauty is in the (right) eye of the beholder

New study on Gouldian finches. Your colour, your size and your song are what matters if you are a bird choosing a mate. In a polymorphic species, where several colour variations exist side-by-side, mates are chosen often because they match the chooser.

Fracking Shame on Shale

Fracking Shame on Shale



David Cameron. It's make-your-mind-up-time. The RSPB, WWF and FOE are jointly fighting the British government's failure to check fracking's (hydraulic fracturing's) environmental impact and health and safety issues.

Aping parrots?

Aping parrots?

A new study into African Grey parrot intelligence using acoustic association. While several animals now appear to almost equal the apes in intelligence, conclusive proof was needed.

New Zealand's avian history provides us with extinction predictors

New Zealand's avian history provides us with extinction predictors



Far from being random, extinction of organisms is often biased. New research done in New Zealand shows that as the type of threat changes, patterns of extinction change dramatically over time.

Humming in the Rain: Precipitation and Anna's Hummingbird Flight

Humming in the Rain: Precipitation and Anna's Hummingbird Flight

How do hummingbirds cope with flying in the rain? Anna's hummingbirds, under 4 regimes of rain, seem to retain their composure, and more importantly, stability, much better than you would expect.

Bald eagle population increasing in Florida

Bald eagle population increasing in Florida



An aerial survey estimates there are 1,457 active bald eagle nests in Florida - up 9% over the last four years.

US celebrates American Eagle Day

US celebrates American Eagle Day

Celebrating Bald Eagle population recovery. American Eagle Day is being celebrated on 20 June to help protect the species and educate people about the American Eagle and its symbolism to the USA.

Sex determination in birds

Sex determination in birds



The ZZW hen is female to start with but develops male characteristics and produces no fertile gametes (eggs OR sperm). Except that is for the ZZW Kentish plover, noted in the study of sex determination in birds.

The soaring habits of Golden Eagles

The soaring habits of Golden Eagles

Migrating golden eagles use thermals and wind when flying to conserve energy. Wind farm developments have an impact on soaring bird species as a study on movements of golden eagles in flight shows.

Familiar great tits are good neighbours

Familiar great tits are good neighbours

Great tits and other small birds sometimes join forces and 'mob' any potential predator to keep them away from their nests. A new study shows that nesting great tits join their neighbours in mobbing predators, but only if they are familiar with them from the year before. Different birds are treated differently depending on their familiarity with others.

Peregrines produce despite vandals and egg stealers

Peregrines produce despite vandals and egg stealers

Peregrine falcon and osprey lay eggs in Scotland. Lady of the Loch (and partner) plus a pair of Peregrine falcons have laid eggs confirmed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Bird kill during wind farm construction

Bird kill during wind farm construction

Bird deaths associated with wind turbines. Mortality estimates have varied widely and a study looks at what effect wind farm construction has on birds and why.

Famous Osprey 'The Lady of the Loch' returns to Scotland

Famous Osprey 'The Lady of the Loch' returns to Scotland



An osprey, known as The Lady of the Loch has just returned to her nest in Scotland from Africa. Also in Britain, the 2012 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results have been published.

Vulture Restaurants: Serving and Saving Vultures

Vulture Restaurants: Serving and Saving Vultures

Restaurants for vultures? To help save and conserve endangered vultures in India, vulture feeding areas have been started. Vulture populations in India have fallen dramatically over the last two of decades.

New York State aims to protect coastal wildlife and promote wind power

New York State aims to protect coastal wildlife and promote wind power

A new collaborative report has been compiled to help promote offshore renewable energy developments in New York State, while protecting fish and birdlife.

Eurasian rollers won't just roll over

Eurasian rollers won't just roll over

A new study shows how Eurasian roller nestlings respond to fear and threat of predation by vomiting. Blue roller nestlings vomit informs parent birds that they have been attacked or fear they will be.

King Penguins Bravely Head South

King Penguins Bravely Head South

The sub-Antarctic islands hold large populations of king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) but Crozet Island king penguins have been reproducing less successfully, possibly associated with warming conditions.

Fossil from prehistoric penguin as tall as humans

Fossil from prehistoric penguin as tall as humans



Years after a fossilised penguin skeleton was found in New Zealand, scientists say it belonged to possibly the tallest ever prehistoric penguin; Kairuku grebneffi stood almost five feet tall.

King Penguin Genetic Diversity Recovers on Macquarie Island

King Penguin Genetic Diversity Recovers on Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island was used as a penguin blubber oil extraction site. Efforts by conservationists have helped King Penguin populations recover in both number and genetic diversity. The Macquarie Island ghosts of the King Penguin.

Human-generated Noise Affects Nestling Birds

Human-generated Noise Affects Nestling Birds



A new study researching the effects of human based noise on nestling birds has just been published. Tree swallows for example can be subject to human-generated noise in cities.

Columbus beaten again, by the migration of a songbird!

Columbus beaten again, by the migration of a songbird!

The tiny wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) migration ranges far and wide across the Palaearctic. Because of this complete northern distribution, it has proved impossible so far to prove where the American populations over-winter.

Study highlights worrying numbers of UK ladybirds

Study highlights worrying numbers of UK ladybirds

A study has found that native UK ladybirds are declining as the invasive harlequin ladybird species spreads across Europe.

Andean species threatened

Andean species threatened



Mammals, birds, amphibians and many other groups are exposed to development or climate change threats in isolated parts of the Andes in Amazonian Peru and Bolivia.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is back

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is back

The Big Garden Birdwatch is back. The RSPB is also launching a schools backed bird watch for all children (and adults).

Spoon-billed Sandpipers Star at Slimbridge

Spoon-billed Sandpipers Star at Slimbridge



Whether pollution or simply habitat loss is responsible for almost the last spoon-billed sandpiper has yet to be investigated. The sooner we find ways of preserving in order to conserve, the better!

'Penguin' mini-sub will explore ocean depths

'Penguin' mini-sub will explore ocean depths



A mini-submarine, shaped like a penguin, has been created by a German university team to dive 6,000 metres and locate amazing deep-sea creatures and valuable raw materials.

New Caledonian crows and their tools

New Caledonian crows and their tools

Tool using has now been observed in several species since the chimpanzee showed us that we are not alone in the use of implements. The New Caledonian crow has joined the rook, the Eurasian jay and the Egyptian vulture in the bird tool users club.

Satellites help save warblers' forest homes

Satellites help save warblers' forest homes

Using satellites, American researchers have mapped changes to forests and made plans to save the Kirtland's warbler, a bird that was in danger of vanishing in the 1960s.

Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers arrive in Britain

Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers arrive in Britain



Conservation group brings 13 endangered spoon-billed sandpipers from Russia to Britain to start a captive breeding programme.

A nightingale sings

A nightingale sings

For four years in May, in a Berlin park, twelve 1-year-old and twelve older nightingales were played (nightingale) songs to determine how they reacted to common songs and different repertoires. The effort was worthwhile in many ways, especially in suggesting ways that birds can relate to competing males and the 'choosy' females.

For baboons it pays to be sociable

For baboons it pays to be sociable



Chacma baboons of Namibia, exist in small social stable groups on cliff top nesting sites in Tsaobis Leopard Park and so, unlike insects, schooling fish or other sociable creatures, it may not have organised instincts to coordinate its group movement.

Birds like it sweet, bees like it sweeter

Birds like it sweet, bees like it sweeter



MIT mathematicians delved into the arena of biology recently to explore optimization in nature. It turns out, bees are 'dippers' who feed by probing flowers with their tongues. For them, a thicker, sweeter fluid is best. But birds and butterflies draw nectar through thin tubes, and that's easier when flowers supply a thinner, less sugary fluid.

Chick attacks highlighted in study on the Nazca booby

Chick attacks highlighted in study on the Nazca booby

Nazca Boobies, related to other ocean travellers such as the famous wandering albatross, live in the Galapagos. Unfortunately, parents have to leave nestlings frequently to fish long-distance. On the islands, such as this booby colony on Isla Espanola, there is an intense interest by certain adults in unrelated chicks, especially when its parents are necessarily absent for long periods.

Singing Cousins

Singing Cousins



Birds and humans are related, but most people would regard that relationship as you would a distant cousin you don't talk about any more. Singing is a different kettle of fish, it seems. While common patterns in music include phrases that rise then descend (melodic arches), or just have their final note elongated, constraints on the vocal system are likely to have affected them.

The week's environmental news roundup: September 23rd 2011

The week's environmental news roundup: September 23rd 2011

This week the cost of development coming home to roost, literally, with the sky falling down, smoggiest levels for five years in the US and northern birds. One of several issues covered in our weekly roundup of environmental news up to 23rd September 2011.

Penguins smell good - who knew?

Penguins smell good - who knew?

New research shows for the first time that penguins use scent to tell one another apart and avoid interbreeding. Scientists at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Zoological Society report that penguins use a highly-developed sense of smell to identify their kin, thus avoiding interbreeding with relatives.

Fluttering tail-feathers strike winning note for male hummingbirds

Fluttering tail-feathers strike winning note for male hummingbirds



Intriguing research published in Science today has uncovered the details of the fluttering sound-scaping used by male hummingbirds, as part of the dramatic diving displays, given to impress watching females. The tones produced by feather-fanning are more complex than first thought, and are distinct for each humming bird species, say the researchers.

Wildlife and farmers - should we share or spare?

Wildlife and farmers - should we share or spare?

A paper out in Science suggests that both conservation and farming could benefit by living separately - while still being good neighbors. Sharing the same land in a more mixed landscape, by contrast, appears to leave wildlife and food harvests worse off in the long run, the team from the University of Cambridge and the RSPB conclude.

Bushy Point Fernbirds, an eco-friendly bed and breakfast

Bushy Point Fernbirds, an eco-friendly bed and breakfast

Bushy Point Fernbirds Bed and Breakfast is unique in southern New Zealand. A private reserve secluded on 5 ha, Bushy Point Fernbirds is actually part of a larger public reserve and a Ramsar wetland of international importance, legally protected in perpetuity with a QEII open space covenant.

Sat-nav ospreys tracked from Scotland - destination Africa: Updated

Sat-nav ospreys tracked from Scotland - destination Africa: Updated

RSPB website follows one of Britain's favourite birds on a perilous journey. Ospreys migrate to Africa for the winter, returning in the spring, and this hazardous journey can now be analysed as some birds have been fitted with satellite tracking by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Farmland birds bear brunt of CAP says UK charity

Farmland birds bear brunt of CAP says UK charity



The Common Agricultural Policy needs reform if declines in farmland bird species are to be halted says the RSPB. The Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme surveyed 145 common European bird species in 25 countries between 1980 and 2009 and farmland birds were the most at risk species with their numbers at an all time low.

Could living with an anxious partner reduce your own life expectancy?

Could living with an anxious partner reduce your own life expectancy?

Stressful conditions in early life can lead to a shortened life span in birds. Could the same be true in humans? Studying Zebra finches, researchers from the University of Glasgow saw that when glucocorticoid stress hormones were elevated early in life, the birds exhibited increased stress sensitivity in adult life and a reduced lifespan as a result.

'Happy Feet' goes online for Antarctic return

'Happy Feet' goes online for Antarctic return

A penguin found thousands of miles off course in New Zealand will be tracked online as he returns to the deep south. 'Happy Feet', a juvenile Emperor Penguin, was washed up on Peka Peka beach close to Wellington in June, around 3,000 miles from where he should have been.

Audubon holds 75th annual Hog Island camp

Audubon holds 75th annual Hog Island camp



The Audubon Hog Island Camp celebrates its 75th year on August 20. The camp is held to educate children, adults and families about birds as well as the environment in general. First held in 1936, the camp is held to educate children, adults and families about birds, conservation and the environment in general.

Offshore wind farm provides shelter for some species

Offshore wind farm provides shelter for some species



While some campaigners against wind farms focus on birds killed by rotating turbines, new Dutch research suggests that offshore wind farms can in fact be a relatively benign influence on habitats providing shelter for many species in busy waters.

Could flirting make males age faster?

Could flirting make males age faster?

Scientists looking at the sex lives of birds have concluded that attracting members of the opposite sex through mating rituals could cause males to age faster. The scientists put forward the theory that because the birds lived in a habitat with many predators, they evolved a mechanism by which they put more energy into mating in early life - a form of biological trade-off that resulted in premature aging.

Our Rivers campaign launches survey to identify best UK rivers for wildlife

Our Rivers campaign launches survey to identify best UK rivers for wildlife

A survey has been launched to identify the best rivers in the UK for wildlife, with support coming from a wide range of environmentalists including television broadcaster Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The Our Rivers campaign, run by WWF, the RSPB, the Angling Trust and the Salmon & Trout Association, aims to assess the damage done to wildlife by the poor state of many rivers.

Conservation mission to save petrels on Henderson Island underway

Conservation mission to save petrels on Henderson Island underway

Rats to be eradicated from unique bird sanctuary in remote part of the globe. Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in partnership with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and other nature conservancy projects is funding a world-leading mission to Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Islands.

Letting London's parks grow wild again key to bringing back wildlife

Letting London's parks grow wild again key to bringing back wildlife

Central London's birding expert talks conservation, kestrels and keeping the public happy as he takes The Earth Times on a wildlife-themed tour of Regent's Park. Arguably the last place you'd think of if you were asked to name London's top havens for birds but the figures don't lie: last year alone, some 124 species of birds were spotted either just feeding or nesting in the Royal Park, among them ospreys, little owls common terns and peregrine falcons.

Biodiversity Research Institute studies wind turbine dangers to wildlife

Biodiversity Research Institute studies wind turbine dangers to wildlife

Careful location of renewable energy developments may reduce impacts on birds and bats. Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) has established a new wildlife and renewable energy program to study and understand the movements of birds and bats and to assess the potential interactions between energy facilities and wildlife.

Rainforest birds rebound in parts of Amazon laid low

Rainforest birds rebound in parts of Amazon laid low

The tragic loss of biodiversity from rainforest destruction can be reversed, says a study just published on PLoS ONE, which recorded a return of tropical birds to parts of the Amazon previously felled. The fragments of Brazilian rainforest that recovered their brightly-colored birds were the larger of those left by the loggers - aided by the regrowth of secondary forest.

Experts argue over future of 'Happy Feet' penguin

Experts argue over future of 'Happy Feet' penguin

Penguin found washed up on New Zealand's coast could be released into wild or kept in captivity. The fate of a juvenile Emperor Penguin found washed up on a New Zealand beach has gripped the country and its media.

Warming throws flowers off schedule threatening birds and bees

Warming throws flowers off schedule threatening birds and bees

Flowers need bees and birds and bees and many species of birds need flowers, but as global warming changes the flowering calendar of mountain plants, this symbiotic relationship could fail disastrously for both parties.

Save the old men of the forest to house the forest's young

Save the old men of the forest to house the forest's young



An old tree can support dozens of different nesting animals and birds who don't have the woodpecker's powers. Trees are a good thing for the environment right? Well, yes, but replacing old with new is bad news for a multitude of creatures that rely on the ravages of time to help them make a home in the trees.

Are rats and bees the solution to Africa's bushmeat problem?

Are rats and bees the solution to Africa's bushmeat problem?

With the bushmeat trade growing annually, experts recognise that innovative solutions are required to halt this illegal activity. Commercial trading in bushmeat - the meat and other parts of wild mammals, birds and reptiles - is a highly lucrative industry, particularly prevalent in central Africa. Bushmeat trading is on the rise within many central African countries

Albatross deaths from longline fishing higher than thought

Albatross deaths from longline fishing higher than thought



The numbers of albatross and other sea-birds drowning after being snared by longline fishing hooks is three times higher than thought - at 300,000 per year. The new number in a study published in Endangered Species Research, is all the more shocking because measures to make longline fishing safe have been proven to work.

One of the world's biggest birds is in grave danger

One of the world's biggest birds is in grave danger

This year's update to the Red List of Threatened Species says that some of the largest species of bird in the world are close to extinction. The update has also resulted in the threat level for the Great Indian Bustard being upgraded to Critically Endangered, the highest level of threat.

Last ditch attempt to save the spoon-billed sandpiper

Last ditch attempt to save the spoon-billed sandpiper



Can a rescue team of conservationists save Critically Endangered sandpiper? Spoon-billed sandpipers are well-camouflaged amongst their tundra habitat, with a unique spoon-shaped bill. Breeding in Chukotka in north-eastern Russia, the spoon-billed sandpiper migrates an astonishing 8000 kilometres to over-winter in Southeast Asia.

Atlantic Seabirds get FAME

Atlantic Seabirds get FAME

''Sat-nav'' to be used in new seabird programme to track birds around Europe's Atlantic coastline. The project, known as FAME - the Future of the Atlantic Marine Environment - is tracking the movements of seabirds to pinpoint areas that are important for these ocean travellers. This knowledge should assist the selection of marine protected areas which are vital for the survival of seabird species.

Africa's sea turtles need extra protection

Africa's sea turtles need extra protection

Existing protected areas are inadequate in safeguarding turtles from fishing nets, a new study has found. This is the first comprehensive tracking study of olive ridley turtles during the nesting season, using satellite transmitters to follow 18 female turtles.

2011 State of Birds Report

2011 State of Birds Report

''This year's report brings attention to the importance of public lands and waters for conserving America's wildlife and habitats.'' The recent release of the 2011 State of Birds report has given new insight into the welfare of America's bird populations, as well as the status of wildlife and conservation efforts.

Rodent eradication declared a success in South Georgia

Rodent eradication declared a success in South Georgia



50 tonnes of rodenticide spread by helicopter to remove invasive species. South Georgia has been colonised by invasive rodent species. These introduced rodents feed on the eggs and young of ground-nesting native birds, which can offer no resistance. Every year thousands, perhaps millions, of young birds are eaten alive by rats.

Greening our pets lives

Greening our pets lives

We are all becoming more aware of the need to consider the environment in our everyday lives, and this includes our family pets. In recent years there has been a surge in the number of eco-friendly products dedicated to helping people 'green' the lives of their dogs, cats, birds and a whole host of other pets.

Curious or cowardly - how greenfinches personality shines through

Curious or cowardly - how greenfinches personality shines through

An experimental study on greenfinch personality has shown that being brave or curious has real biochemical consequences, when it comes to defending against dangerous oxidants. Braver and bolder finches show better antioxidant defenses than more timid and less adventurous birds, says the study in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Humpback whales in super-aggregation in Antarctica

Humpback whales in super-aggregation in Antarctica



In a wildlife spectacle, a massive aggregation of over 300 humpback whales followed the biggest swarm of Antarctic krill seen in twenty years into bays in the Western Antarctic peninsula. The humpbacks were gorging on swarms of the tiny shrimp-like crustaceans. Almost all life in the Southern Ocean is ultimately dependent on the protein-rich crustaceans, from seabirds, seals and penguins, to the filter feeding whales.

Wild parakeets face a UK cull

Wild parakeets face a UK cull

The government announces measures to kill the non-native species that is becoming a pest. The UK government is to remove a species of parakeet from the British countryside because it poses a threat to crops, electricity grids and native birds.

Toxic chemicals found in peregrine falcon eggs

Toxic chemicals found in peregrine falcon eggs



Scientists have discovered flame retardant chemicals in peregrine falcon eggs. The study looked at eggs that had failed to hatch in falcon nests around Spain and Canada, including the Great Lakes Region. It was discovered that the levels of chemical compounds were higher in the eggs of birds living in coastal environments.

Mercury burden hangs heavy round the neck of the albatross

Mercury burden hangs heavy round the neck of the albatross

That omen of goodwill or ill, the albatross, is itself suffering from misfortune, as a result of man's continued emitting of toxic mercury compounds. These have been shown, in new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to be accumulating in higher amounts in top predators such as albatrosses. This could threaten their survival, by reducing their reproductive success rates, says the analysis of bird feathers collected over the last century.

Nightingale Island penguins still at threat

Nightingale Island penguins still at threat

A colony of endangered Northern Rockhopper penguins is facing a grim future after a ship grounded on an important breeding island in the South Atlantic Ocean. The remoteness of the Tristan islands and the fact that there is no air field on any of the islands has caused major headaches for the oil spill management efforts.

Bright beaks equals delight for ducks

Bright beaks equals delight for ducks

Is brighter better? It is for ducks! How do you know how to pick a mate? Best body? Big car? Lots of money? Female mallards have their own unique way of determining which mate they should choose. Females of all species want to pick the best father for their offspring. This is the male with the best genes, who will produce successful, healthy children.

Antarctic penguins in trouble due to climate change

Antarctic penguins in trouble due to climate change

Antarctic penguin numbers have more than halved since the 1980's, in tandem with their favourite food. Krill densities are down almost 80%, largely due to climate change reducing winter ice cover in this fast-warming region.

Naked chicks are a puzzle for penguin scientists

Naked chicks are a puzzle for penguin scientists



'Naked' chicks are suddenly appearing in penguin colonies in South Africa and Argentina, leaving scientists perplexed. The bald penguin chicks have a condition called feather-loss disorder. Although all penguins are born with downy feathers, some chicks inexplicably 'moult' their down before their adult feathers arrive, leaving them temporarily bald.

Research discovers darker feathers mean healthier pigeons

Research discovers darker feathers mean healthier pigeons



Research paper in the Journal for Avian Biology studies how different coloured feathers can suggest different health levels amongst urban pigeons. A study of pigeons in the centre of Pairs has discovered birds with darker feathers are healthier, have stronger immune systems and are more attractive to the opposite sex than their lighter coloured counterparts.

Londoners urged to take action to arrest the decline of the 'Cockney sparrow'

Londoners urged to take action to arrest the decline of the 'Cockney sparrow'

Though sparrows and starlings are still the most-commonly-seen birds in London, shortages of suitable food and habitat are driving their numbers down, the Earth Times has learned. Alarmingly, in fact, the figures point to a drop of around 50 per cent over the past 15-to-20 years in both sparrow and starling populations in the capital.

New research could save seabirds from fishing longlines

New research could save seabirds from fishing longlines

Hundreds of thousands of seabirds are dying as a result of being caught in commercial fishing longlines and now a research team may just have the answer to reducing the seabird bycatch. Traditional fisheries bycatch models are based almost entirely upon fixed maps of historic bird migration data and past fishery information and there is no consideration of more dynamic factors.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch shows a good year for little birds

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch shows a good year for little birds

Small birds come up tops in this year's Big Garden Birdwatch. The latest Big Garden Birdwatch has yet again delivered excellent results about the U.K's garden birds. Over 600,000 people in Britain joined in, noting down information about the birds they had seen in their back gardens; which is a record-breaking number of respondents and makes this the world's biggest bird survey.

Traditional cork best for biodiversity conservation

Traditional cork best for biodiversity conservation

Traditional cork bottle stoppers best for biodiversity conservation and economy, according to new study. A new study published in the journal Biological Conservation, proves exactly the opposite, demonstrating that cork extraction is in fact an economic activity that should be promoted for the benefit of biodiversity. The research is the first to look at the impact of cork extraction on biodiversity, using birds as indicators.

Climate Change Has Huge Effect On Birdlife

Climate Change Has Huge Effect On Birdlife

Climate change is having a bigger effect than previously thought on bird species. There is no doubt that climate change is affecting many ecological events, such as flowering and reproduction seasons in animals. In the case of birdlife, there is growing evidence that this effect is particularly profound.

Tuamotu Kingfisher: Scientists fighting losing battle to save world's rarest bird

Tuamotu Kingfisher: Scientists fighting losing battle to save world's rarest bird

With just 125 left on one island, the fight to save the Tuamotu Kingfisher is an uphill struggle for scientists despite the backing of local farmers. With bright blue feathers, an orange head a green black the Tuamotu Kingfisher is quite an eye-catcher, but with just 125 of them left on one last Pacific island seeing one was going to be a thing of the past without intervention.

Stricken ship threatens environmental disaster, putting endangered wildlife at risk

Stricken ship threatens environmental disaster, putting endangered wildlife at risk

The wreckage of a cargo vessel that has grounded off a South Atlantic Island is causing an impending environmental disaster, threatening one of the world's most endangered penguins. 1500 tonnes of heavy crude oil has spilled into the sea.

Genetic analysis ends 20 years of debate over whether the Amsterdam albatross is separate species

Genetic analysis ends 20 years of debate over whether the Amsterdam albatross is separate species

Genetic analysis confirms the world's rarest albatross is a separate species. The Amsterdam albatross is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. It is an extremely large albatross that breeds only on Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean, where its total population is made up of just 130 individuals. The Amsterdam albatross's breeding range is restricted further still, to a single area of the island known as the Plateau des Tourbieres.

Zoos being urged to breed endangered species

Zoos being urged to breed endangered species

Zoos around the world are being asked to team up to shelter and breed endangered animals as a form of biodiversity insurance. The research found that between 20 and 25 percent of endangered species of mammals are already kept at the zoos and just a slightly lower figure for birds. However, the concern is that the species that are facing an acute risk of extinction are not so well represented.

New measures to tackle the deaths of birds of prey in Scotland

New measures to tackle the deaths of birds of prey in Scotland

An increase in the numbers of birds of prey killed in Scotland leads to the government to take action. Figures releases showing hotspots of the birds killed by poisonous chemicals reveal last year seven red kites and four golden eagles were killed. A sea eagle, brought to Scotland as part of a reintroduction programme was killed in the last twelve months.

Forget cats - it's escaped pet snakes wreaking havoc in Florida Everglades

Forget cats - it's escaped pet snakes wreaking havoc in Florida Everglades

For the native birds of the Everglades, keeping an eye out for pythons is an increasing preoccupation. The burgeoning population of snakes, descended from pet-escapees, is seen as an increasing threat to some of the endangered species of Florida's National Park, says a study published in this month's BioOne. Filed in environmental isssues: florida/snakes/nature.

Mum at 60 - oldest bird in the U.S. has a chick

Mum at 60 - oldest bird in the U.S. has a chick

Spring is sprung, the grass is green and a 60 year old albatross has a new addition to her brood! At 60 years old, Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known in the U.S. First recorded in 1956 as she incubated an egg, Wisdom has seen it all - from the first man on the moon, to the fall of the Berlin Wall and beyond. Filed under environmental issues: Wildlife/Nature.

Losing sight of the real causes of mass animal death?

Losing sight of the real causes of mass animal death?

Getting past media sensationalism to discover the real causes of mass animal death. Since last December when 83,000 Drum fish were washed up in Arkansas and thousands of blackbirds fell dead just 100km away in the town of Beebe, the world media has been full of reports of mass animal deaths. Journalists have gone as far as to nickname the phenomena 'aflockalypse'.

Rare Kazakhstan imperial eagles benefit from genetic counting

Rare Kazakhstan imperial eagles benefit from genetic counting



Conservationists may be better placed to aid eastern imperial eagles, thanks to new genetic sampling work described in a paper in Animal Conservation. By genetic profiling of feathers found in a Kazakh nature reserve, they have doubled the known number of imperial eagles at the site - and marked it as an additional focus for those seeking to safeguard these majestic birds.

Plastic Contamination in the Atlantic Ocean

Plastic Contamination in the Atlantic Ocean

Discusses the problem of plastic 'islands' in the ocean and what we can do to correct it. It is a tragic fact the Atlantic has large amounts of plastic contamination which is cluttering up the ocean and causing problems with sea life and marine birds. The plastic containers come in all shapes and sizes take practically forever to biodegrade due to their chemical makeup

Cocaine production spells doom for Colombia's rainforests

Cocaine production spells doom for Colombia's rainforests

Colombian rainforests under threat due to an increase in production of coca to meet world demand for cocaine. More than 1,821 species of birds, 623 species of amphibians, 467 species of mammals, 518 species of reptiles and 3,200 species of fish are found, mainly in the country's vast tracts of tropical forest.

Africa urged to come together to protect migratory birds

Africa urged to come together to protect migratory birds



The migratory map of Africa is tipped to change significantly over the next few decades as birds react to the effects of climate change. The Finnish ornithologist Johannes Leche is widely credited with undertaking the first proper study of the migratory patterns of birds, with his pioneering work in the mid-18th century based largely upon the technique of ringing individual animals.

Nations 'need to work together' to save wildlife

Nations 'need to work together' to save wildlife

Countries will have to improve their co-operation if they are to protect endangered wildlife in an age of climate change, according to an international study. A team of scientists have come up with a conservation index designed to help policy-makers to deal with the effects of climate change on birds in Africa, the theory of which could help governments across the world as climate change forces species to move to new areas.

England's most-important natural refuges identified

England's most-important natural refuges identified

A handful of unremarkable spots are serving as valuable refuges for England's rarest species, a new report has revealed. England's rarest species of animals are not majestic eagles or regal deer, nor are the country's most important natural sites to be found in any of the popular National Parks. Instead, the rarest plants and animals are to be found - usually with a magnifying glass - in some of less presupposing parts of this green and pleasant land.

Britain's great bustards population set to take off thanks to EU funding boost

Britain's great bustards population set to take off thanks to EU funding boost

Once extinct in the UK, the great bustard looks on the verge of a remarkable comeback, thanks to a new injection of funding from the European Union. It was way back in 1832 that the great bustard finally went the way of the dodo and disappeared from the British Isles. Over-zealous gamekeepers and hunters, combined with a loss of habitat also led to the disappearance of the world's biggest flying bird from several other European countries.

Family social stress affects children - even birds

Family social stress affects children - even birds



Franco-Austrian study indicates that stressed female birds can lay eggs that produce stressed chicks. The debate between nature and nurture first began in the mid-19th century when Charles Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton raised the question of whether hereditary or environmental factors were the prime influences with respect to social advancement.

The Silvereye Learns to Shout Above Traffic

The Silvereye Learns to Shout Above Traffic

One species of Australian bird, the silvereye, has been found to change its songs to compensate for lound traffic noise in urban areas. Some Australian birds are learning to shout to make themselves heard above traffic noise. The silvereye in urban environments have been found to sing higher-pitched but slower songs than those in rural areas.

The effects of a colder Bering Sea on the feeding habits of pollock

The effects of a colder Bering Sea on the feeding habits of pollock

A three-year dip in Bering Sea temperature has caused a change in the distribution of the staple food of pollock. The Bering Sea is considered to be one of the world's most productive fisheries and its northern portions are the home of sea ducks, grey whales, bearded seals and walruses, but a 30-year warming trend has been bad news for those animals that are adapted to a cold-water environment, causing them to migrate further north.

A New Year gift of dead birds and fish?

A New Year gift of dead birds and fish?



The state of Arkansas is ringing in New Year in a very peculiar way. On New Year's Eve 2000 birds fell dead out of the sky and in another incident last week, thousands of fish washed up dead on the shores of the Arkansas River. Officers are saying its disease and not really pollution but environmentalists are saying pollutions and the use of fireworks could be the cause.

Long way to restoring Bald Eagle Population

Long way to restoring Bald Eagle Population



Scientists till date have had only limited success to re-establish breeding populations of bald eagles on the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast that disappeared thanks to indiscriminate use of DDT.

Saving the Iquitos Gnatcatcher

Saving the Iquitos Gnatcatcher

For the first time in Peru, conservationists have purchased privately owned lands within a national protected area and then donated them to the national government. The donated lands are home to the Iquitos Gnatcatcher, a Critically Endangered bird first described in 2005. Actvists have hailed the move which they say will allow better conservation of this threatened species.

Return of the Short-Tailed Albatross

Return of the Short-Tailed Albatross



The short-tailed albatross whose adult population number only about 3,000 were till recently found only on the Japanese islands of Kure Atoll and on Midway Atoll. Now they have spotted on the Hawaiian Islands. In a report the Seabird Program at the American Bird Conservancy, a US based conservation organization, says, this raises hopes that this once endangered bird might be gaining in numbers.